Lynda Baron: Open All Hours and Come Outside actress dies aged 82

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Image caption,
Lynda Baron, Ronnie Barker and David Jason starred in in Open All Hours

Actress Lynda Baron, best known for her role as Nurse Gladys Emmanuel in BBC TV sitcom Open All Hours, has died at the age of 82.

The hit show about a Yorkshire corner shop, which starred Ronnie Barker and Sir David Jason, ran in the 1970s and 80s before being revived in 2013.

Baron also appeared in children's show Come Outside and EastEnders.

Her agent said her "iconic roles" were "loved by all generations", adding that she was "a leading light of our world".

Image caption,
Baron and Auntie Mabel's dog Pippin were known to a generation of children for the show Come Outside

Baron told The Sunday Post in 2020 that although she loved playing Nurse Gladys and Auntie Mabel in Come Outside, she "couldn't name my favourite of the different characters I have played".

She told the newspaper: "Working with Ronnie Barker and David Jason was unbelievable - two great actors in a brilliantly scripted sitcom. There was never a day when we did not have a great laugh ourselves and that carried on when Still Open All Hours became a series."

In Roy Clarke's Open All Hours, she played the long-suffering Nurse Gladys, who resisted the amorous attempts of shop owner Albert Arkwright, played by Barker, to woo her.

Sir David played Arkwright's equally long-suffering nephew, who went on to run the shop with his son when the show returned as Still Open All Hours in 2013.

Image caption,
Baron played Linda Clarke in EastEnders on and off over a decade

Baron was nominated for a Bafta Award in 2011 for her role in The Road To Coronation Street, a one-off drama about the early days of the soap. She played actress Violet Carson, who portrayed Ena Sharples in the long-running series.

In BBC soap EastEnders, she played Linda Clarke, the mother of Jane Beale. She also appeared in Doctor Who, Last of the Summer Wine, Down To Earth, Dinner Ladies and Barbra Streisand's 1983 film Yentl.

Image caption,
Bernard Cribbins and Lynda Baron appeared in Down To Earth in 2005

Actress Sally Lindsay, who appeared in Still Open All Hours, paid tribute: "I loved Lynda Baron. She was funny and clever and a joy to work with, and she once gifted me a pair of beautiful red shoes. This has made me very sad. RIP Lynda darling x"

EastEnders and The Bill actor Stuart Anthony said: "She was the nicest person and what a legend."

Lisa Riley, who played Baron's daughter in ITV's Fat Friends, wrote: "We ALWAYS laughed together."

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'Wonderful actress'

Baron's agent Donna French said: "It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved client Lynda Baron.

"She was a wonderful actress and a great friend. Her iconic roles of Nurse Gladys in Open All Hours and Aunt Mabel in Come Outside were loved by all generations.

"Renowned for her leading roles in West End musicals and dramatic productions alike, we have lost a leading light of our world.

"We extend our deepest condolences to her daughter Sarah, her son Morgan and all her family."

Image caption,
James Baxter, Sir David Jason and Linda Baron starred in Still Open All Hours

Baron's other credits included The Two Ronnies, 1970s sitcom Oh No, It's Selwyn Froggitt, plus long-running drama The Bill and soap Crossroads and various Carry On films.

In 2020, she was in the film Dream Horse, about a race horse breeder, which starred Damian Lewis and Joanna Page. She was also in Woody Allen's 2006 romantic crime comedy film Scoop, and 2005's Colour Me Kubrick, about a man who posed as director Stanley Kubrick during production of the film Eyes Wide Shut.

On stage, she featured in the 1987 musical Follies in the West End, the stage version of 2007's In Celebration alongside Orlando Bloom, plus theatre shows including An Inspector Calls, Stepping Out and The Full Monty.

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Baron told The Sunday Post she originally trained as a dancer, saying: "I was with the Royal Academy of Dance so I must have been of some use.

"I went into rep then and learned so much about acting. It was hard work because you were constantly doing one drama, rehearsing the next one and learning the lines of the one after that. It was a great education and I am so glad to have gone through that."

Her first professional job was in panto at Liverpool Empire when she was 16.

"It was certainly a start and I have been quite busy ever since," she said. "You get your lulls in work and that makes you all the more grateful when the next job comes along and all the more determined to give it your best."

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